A lawyer, who openly criticized the judicial system, was today publicly reprimanded by a magistrate for failing to appear in court.
Presiding in the District “A” Traffic Court, Magistrate Graveney Bannister took issue with the absence of attorney-at-law Arthur Holder, after a number of his clients appeared before him without their legal representative.
“This is the fourth time that he failed to appear . . . and failed to display any courtesy,
. . . wasting my time, clogging up my court, wasting police resources and time . . . on successive occasions . . . always absent [and] no courtesy to write the court with an excuse,” an upset Bannister charged.
The magistrate then asked one of the accused whether he had been in contact with Holder, to which he replied, “Yes, he is in the High Court”.
“You [the accused] have multiple matters to be heard, if Mr Holder is unavailable find yourself another lawyer,” Bannister advised.
The accused man then revealed that he had already paid Holder, to which the magistrate responded: “Get your brief and your money back . . . find yourself another lawyer . . . I will proceed on the next court date,” he added.
However, that position did not go down well with the attorney-at-law in question.
When contacted by Barbados TODAY this evening Holder explained that he was in the No.5 Supreme Court on two other matters. The attorney also revealed that he normally made contact with the prosecutor of the Traffic Court to say when he would be absent.
“The High Court gives precedence, that’s the law . . . and [Madam] Justice [Jacqueline] Cornelius was sick yesterday, so all the matters were adjourned for today,” explained Holder.
“Anytime I am not coming to the court, the standard procedure is, I normally speak to Station Sergeant Barrow who is the prosecutor in the Traffic Court or I send one of my juniors to that court. So, I really do not understand Graveney Bannister’s problem. I pun the record, if he has a problem with Arthur Holder he should say that,” the attorney said.
Holder also accused Bannister of disrespecting him in the presence of his clients.
“I believe he would have made some remarks to [one of the accused] to say, ‘come to my quarters or to go to the Bar Association’, I was told that.
“That’s no place for a magistrate to say that. That’s outside his purview. That has nothing to do with Graveney Bannister . . . telling clients to go to the Bar Association . . . that is disrespectful to an attorney-at-law and you can quote me on that . . . and I say that without reservation. That has nothing to do with him and the administration of justice,” Holder argued.
He also made it clear that he was not wasting the court’s time, saying he did not believe the prosecutor was ready to try any of the cases in question.